Firstly, let me put a big giant SPOILER ALERT at the head of this piece. If you haven’t watched the BBC’s “Sherlock” up to “His Last Vow” then don’t read this!
Anyway, I thought I’d do a bit of a speculation on my current favourite TV show, and also a bit of cheering as to how much I enjoyed season 3. All three feature length episodes were entertaining, yet each episode was markedly different from the others.
“The Empty Hearse” had a big task, and filled it, whilst winking at the fans and pulling off a wonderful piece of misdirection in the opening. It almost caused a “For f**k’s sake!” to erupt but didn’t, with Rupert Graves’s Lestrade crisply reacting just as the viewers would.
By the way, if there’s one complaint I have, it’s that Lestrade didn’t get enough screen time. His eye-rolling double act with Watson is always fun, and check out his touching performance in the mini-episode “Many Happy Returns”. Did we see how Holmes actually survived? Who knows, other than the solution provided was pretty plausible.
“The Sign of Three” was played for laughs, with the stag scenes almost like a Mitchell and Webb sketch. The wedding itself was touching, and the mystery a bit so-so. The dagger through the belt? Hmmm? Really? The speech was also fun, although if I were Moffatt & Gatiss I’d resist the urge to turn Lestrade into a comic buffoon. Some clever clues about what was to come, all the same (listen to the telegram from “Cam”!)
“His Last Vow” was thrilling. Lars Mikkelsen as Charles Augustus Magnussen is just brilliant, and I hope we see him again. That’s impossible, you cry? We saw him shot. Is it impossible to think he’s in a coma in some Mycroft controlled facility? This is Sherlock, after all, and he’s so good. The eye flicking scene was wonderful, although I just didn’t buy that Mycroft couldn’t have gotten someone into the house, figured out the truth, and then just had him die from a polonium cocktail. The twist at the end, and the tip of the cap to the Rathbone movies was nice.
Other highlights: Amanda Abbington is a fabulous addition to the cast, turning the twosome into a very watchable threesome. Keep her! Actually, if Cumberbatch and Freeman can’t do more, how about an Avengers style spinoff: Mary and Irene Adler doing spy stuff for Mycroft. I’d watch that.
Watson in the drug den, when he gets physical with a junkie is a great touch. Before David Burke and Edward Hardwicke swung back towards the original stories in the Jeremy Brett TV series, Watson tended to be played as a bit of a clown. He isn’t in the Conan Doyle stories, having a separate skill set to Holmes, and a willingness to start throwing punches if necessary. He is, after all, a trained and competent soldier, something which is also nicely alluded to in Sherlock.
And finally: The Return of Moriarty. They just had to, Andrew Scott is just too good to let go to waste. I particularly love the way Moriarty is now known nationally in the show as a super villain of sorts, a Voldemort-style threat to authority from the shadows. This’ll be fun.